How to Lose Your Best People

31g3hoqLB4L._SY346_Patrick Lencioni shared a presentation at Willow Creek Association’s Global Leadership Summit from his book, The Three Signs of a Miserable Job: A Business Parable. Lencioni’s focus was on employees but the principles he sets out also apply to volunteers. This makes the implications of these observations critical for church leaders and pastors. ¬†Patrick nailed three signs of a miserable job that destroy a work culture and lead to separation – Anonymity, Irrelevance and Immeasurement.


Lencioni – People cannot be fulfilled in their work if they are not known. All human beings need to be understood and appreciated for their unique qualities by someone in a position of authority. People who see themselves as invisible, generic or anonymous cannot love their jobs, no matter what they are doing.

NineSevenZero Church – This is one of the basic needs of all humans. We must take the time to know people and what lights them up on the inside even if it doesn’t have any connection or value to the task at hand or the mission of the church. Understanding and affirming the uniqueness of every team member’s talents, experience, passion and calling is the privilege and responsibility of every leader. We need to publically and privately celebrate the Holy Spirit’s wisdom and effort in assembling each team.


Lencioni – Everyone needs to know that their job matters, to someone. Anyone. Without seeing a connection between the work and the satisfaction of another person or group of people, and employee simply will not find lasting fulfillment. Even the most cynical employees need to know that their work matters to someone, even if it’s just the boss.

NineSevenZero Church – We need to connect every invitation to join the team, how their talents/experience, and how their effort/work will benefit the mission of NineSevenZero Church. We need to frame their opportunity within the context of extending the Kingdom and participating in the Mission of God. There is no more relevant work on this Earth.


Lencioni – Employees need to be able to gauge their progress and level of contribution for themselves. They cannot be fulfilled in their work if their success depends on the opinions or whims of another person, no matter how benevolent that person may be. Without tangible means of assessing success or failure, motivation deteriorates as people see themselves as unable to control their own fate.

NineSevenZero Church – We must be careful in the context of communicating job descriptions, doing periodic reviews and providing feedback to clearly set requirements, objectives and goals. We must be careful to provide objective metrics that the employee/volunteer can measure themselves and provide for frequent feedback of all subjective measurements. We must also encourage employee/volunteer self-evaluation in the context of all individual, team and project evaluations.


Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *